I was a 20-year-old news junkie when the Watergate hearings were initiated. I worked my viewing of live coverage around my class and work-study obligations, even as my black-and-white CRT TV set contracted some sort of tube-related virus that created a horizontal bar in the middle of the 15-inch screen. My memories of the hearings all have an annoying horizontal bar in the middle of them.

The big heroes in that era were the investigative journalists. Majors in journalism spiked for several years after that; you can look it up.

The heroes of today’s hearings are State Department and national security infrastructure professionals. There could be no better legacy of this era than if people started majoring like crazy in world languages, comparative literature, political science, economics and all the other ways they might get on track for a career in the diplomatic and security services. And then all they have to do is to take their oaths seriously. And tell the truth. Even as self-proclaimed patriots mount vendettas against them.

Richard Robbins, Mankato


Wait … that doesn’t make sense

Some mornings when I pick up the newspaper, I wonder if I’ve entered an alternative universe where morality in the U.S. has become completely scrambled. How can it be that the two major political parties are dithering over whether to disavow the use of disinformation (fake videos and false social media tales) in their 2020 campaigns (“Dems weigh tactics pledge,” front page, Nov. 26)? How can it be that our elected officials in Congress and the White House approve laudable legislation to protect cats, dogs and horses from abuse (“Trump signs federal ban on animal cruelty,” Nov. 26), when the government is detaining migrant children in inhumane conditions?

Barbara Crosby, Minneapolis


The richest households will be fine

Megan McArdle’s commentary on Nov. 23 (“Warren-Booker exchange sums up Democrats’ choice”) wrongly assumes that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposed wealth tax would erode the capital base, productivity and workers’ income. But it would actually increase workers’ incomes. Warren’s 2% wealth tax on households with more than $50 million would affect approximately 75,000 households. This tax, coupled with a billionaire surcharge, and increased corporate taxation would generate enough revenue to help fund her climate agenda, eliminate most student loan debt and invest in universal child care. These concrete programs, funded by her tax plan, would bolster workers’ incomes and eliminate many of the financial hand grenades that have decimated the shrinking middle class.

McArdle remarkably claims that Warren caters to white professionals with “healthy household balance sheets.” Baloney. Aside from the working-class programs listed above, Warren spearheaded the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that established safeguards and banking regulations to stop fraudulent practices in the areas of credit cards, mortgages and student loans.

Ms. McArdle, I’m not worried about the 75,000 households affected by Warren’s tax plan; I’m not worried about corporations whose tax rates were slashed from 35% to 21% under Trump’s 2017 tax bill or if they’d be hurt by Warren’s increased corporate taxes. They will undoubtedly continue to prosper. I’m worried about the rest of America. Warren laid out a detailed tax plan with how the revenue would be spent. No presidential nominee has ever produced such a detailed road map of what a voter can expect if she is elected. From my vantage point, she once again has our backs.

Lane Kirchner, St. Paul


Snark doesn’t solve anything

I take exception to Garrison Keillor’s letter to the editor about Macalester College in the Nov. 20 Star Tribune. His premise is that, as the college takes the Edward Duffield Neill name from a building, it must similarly sever all associations that are in any way tainted with prejudice. Keillor fails to take seriously this complex issue that academic institutions face. His wit and humor is designed to kick up as much dust for the institution as possible rather than to admit the difficult challenge of addressing the most egregious expression of bias.

Names on buildings do have significance, and the daily confrontation American Indian students have with a college pioneer hostile to them merits attention. From that issue, Keillor moves on to attack other benefactors of the college with a simplistic black-and-white ethical litmus test, also chiding the college for its Scottish traditions, even for its location on the elite Summit Avenue, the same avenue where Keillor himself toiled in elitist comfort, plotting the lives of the humble folk of Lake Wobegon.

As the passage of time has seen bagpipes used broadly in ceremonial events, so the college should be allowed to enjoy a mythic rendition of its Scottish heritage.

My response may seem humorless; however, I believe that the best of Keillor’s wit is leavened with a touch of humanity. Unfortunately, he has chosen to exploit a thorny problem for laughs. I find the letter simply snarky.

Larry Risser, Minneapolis


City prioritizes grand plan over basics that North Siders need

Earlier this year, the Minneapolis City Council voted to approve the Upper Harbor Terminal (UHT) Concept Plan, which features a private concert venue and hotel, less parkland and river access than originally called for, less opportunity for community revitalization, and five amendments to the concept plan. These amendments were items that community members helped draft and were the result of a broad coalition of community members coming together to strengthen language in the plan.

The city is moving quickly from the approved concept plan to a coordinated plan and has a self-imposed timeline of March 2020 for approval. The planning process and Collaborative Planning Committee appointed earlier this year were supposed to provide meaningful community engagement and authentic opportunities for residents to review and discuss several alternative development proposals or options. The CPC has not had the opportunity to create or evaluate a single alternative development scenario.

The city, developer United Properties and First Avenue are not working to advance the public’s interests and instead are seeking to allow private interests to take the lead and reap the majority of the benefits on publicly owned property and enrich one of the wealthiest families in the nation, the Pohlad family, which owns United Properties. Moreover, the city cites that its No. 1 state bonding priority for the 2020 legislative session is in public bonds to finance a privately operated concert venue at UHT. Taxpayers are being asked to subsidize a project that makes a few wealthy people wealthier while not delivering living-wage jobs, affordable housing or economic inclusion.

City leaders should be required to explain to North Side residents why the city is choosing a private development scheme, abandoning its commitment to equity, and how this project came about with wealthy developers at the forefront, not community vision. Now is the time to address concerns, and the city is wasting the opportunity.

Alexis Pennie, Minneapolis

The writer is a North Side resident and Upper Harbor Terminal Collaborative Planning Committee chair.

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